by Humayun Kabir
IPOH (March 11. 2009) : The High Court here today ruled for the third time in nine days that Perak State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar is a public servant and must engage the services of the state legal adviser, and not represent himself, in the lawsuit brought against him by three independent assemblymen.
Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim reaffirmed in his chambers his two previous decisions last week that Sivakumar is a public servant of the Perak government and can only be represented by the State Legal Adviser under Section 24(3) of the Government Proceedings Act, which states that in civil proceedings by or against the government, the State Legal Adviser shall act on the public servant's behalf.
On March 3, Ridwan ruled that Sivakumar’s private lawyers had no locus standi to represent him in an application filed by Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Again, on Thursday, Ridwan made a similar ruling when the three assemblymen -- Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changat Jering), Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) -- filed a suit seeking a declaration that they were still elected representatives and their state seats are not vacant as declared by Sivakumar.
The three assemblymen had declared themselves as independents friendly to the Barisan Nasional.
Ridwan had also stated that as Sivakumar is drawing his salary from the consolidated fund of the Perak state government, it makes him a government servant of the state.
Ridwan also fixed next Monday to hear two related applications -- one by Sivakumar asking for the suit by the three assemblymen to be struck out, and the other an intervention application by three former Pakatan Rakyat state executive councillors and three registered voters.
Three three former exco members -- A. Sivanesan (Sungkai), Tai Sing Ng (Kuala Sepetang) and Chen Fook Chye (Keranji) -- were members of the PR state executive council when Mohd Osman, Jamaluddin and Hee declared themselves as independents, which resulted in the takeover of the state government by Barisan Nasional.
They claimed the action cost them their posts and their incomes. Also, because they are registered voters and taxpayers in Perak, they should be allowed to join in as interveners in the proceedings filed by Mohd Osman, Jamaluddin and Hee.
The other three interveners are registered voters Ahmad Sabri Wahab, from Behrang, Abdul Latip Arifin, from Changat Jering, and Foo Hon Wai, from Jelapang, who said in their applications they are registered voters and ratepayers in their respective constituencies.
The six are applying to the court to allow them to be interveners in the suit brought by the three plaintiffs. They want the plaintiffs to serve them all the documents related to the suit.
They are also seeking permission from the court to hear their pleadings and affidavits.
Ridwan also allowed lawyers Nga Hock Cheh and Leong Cheok Keng to hold a watching brief for Perak DAP in the two applications on Monday.
Assistant State Legal Adviser Zulkarnain Hassan was present in court today and when Sivakumar asked Zulkarnain why he was representing him without his authorisation, Zulkarnain said he was just following the court’s directive.
The six interveners were represented by lawyers Mohamed Hanipa Maidin (for Sivanesan), Edmund Bon (Tai), Zulqarnain Lukeman (Chen) and Amer Hamzah for Ahmad, Abdul and Foo.
At a press conference, lawyer Chan Kok Keong said they will file an appeal against Ridwan's decision to the registrar of the Appeal Court in Kuala Lumpur for a early hearing.
The three plaintiffs were represented by Datuk Hafarizam Haron, Syed Faisal Syed Abdullah, Abu Bakar As-Sidek, M. Reza Hassan, Badrul Hishah Abdul Wahab and Faizul Hilmy Ahmad Zambri, the same lawyers representing Zambry.